The French government declared a state of health emergency In many overseas territories due to the acceleration of the Covid-19 pandemic the omicron variant benefits. the French Guiana, on the border with Brazil, is part of the affected areas, as well as Saint Barthelemy, Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, in the Caribbean Sea, and Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean. Decision on Wednesday (5).
“Due to the capacity of hospitals in these areas and the low vaccination rates of the population, the current epidemic wave of Covid-19 represents a health catastrophe that puts the health of the population at risk,” sums up the decree submitted to the Council of Ministers in Paris. With this measure, local authorities can impose a lockdown or other devices, such as a curfew, to keep residents at home and avoid overcrowding.
The government saw a “significant increase” in cases outside France metropolitan area. In addition to the regions declared on Wednesday, a health emergency has already been declared on December 27 in Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean, and in Martinique in the Caribbean.
The authorities are especially warning about the low levels of vaccination recorded in these areas, where there is still a great deal of resistance against vaccination. Only about 40% of the population of the French overseas territories, on average, received the first dose of the vaccine against the virus.
Boats on the edge of Oiapoque and in the background the Bi-National Bridge linking Brazil and French Guiana – Photo: Maksuel Martins/GEA
The resolution warns that “with this level of immunization, the risk of developing severe forms of the disease increases and can rapidly saturate hospital structures.”
The government remembers that the situation is already worrying French Guiana, where “the occupancy rate of the beds in resuscitation services is already above 190% of the initial capacity”.
and in France Capital Region, vaccination is not mandatory in Guyana. But the health passport, a document that proves that the holder has been vaccinated or recently tested negative, is required to access bars, restaurants, sports and cultural activities.
However, the rule is not always applied and the use of protective masks is not always respected, which enhances the circulation of the virus, especially given the infectivity of the omicron variant, which is already in the region.
The ease of entry and exit from the territory, due to the difficulty of controlling the borders on both the Suriname side, to the west, and the Brazilian side, to the south, makes the containment of cases even more complex.
In Saint Georges, Guyana, a few minutes by boat from Vila Vitória and OiapokOn the Brazilian side, the crossing is intense and there is practically no control.
The bridge connecting the two banks was closed for months, but temporary boat traffic continued to be tolerated as many people worked or studied on both sides of the border. Amapa has no confirmed cases and omicrons are not suspected.
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